Harvard Westlake Defeats Notre Dame in Thrilling Double Overtime Victory

The matchup for the ages came center stage Wednesday night in Sherman Oaks, as the Harvard Westlake Wolverines marched in to face off against the Notre Dame Knights. Harvard Westlake entered this match having an overwhelmingly positive record of 20-1, not having lost a game since the turn of the calendar year. Against a 14-7 Notre Dame squad, the stage was set for an epic battle between heavyweights.

The Wolverines got out to a quick lead to begin the first quarter, at maintaining a 10-point lead, with the score at 12-2. Despite the lack of offensive firepower on Notre Dame’s end, their defense came out with ferocity, as they stacked four blocks in just the first quarter alone, with two of them coming from Gonzaga-bound Dusty Stromer. Their offense became more prevalent later in the quarter, as Houston-bound Mercy Miller provided a spark to cut the deficit in half, with the score at 14-7 in favor of Harvard Westlake. The first quarter saw both teams show out with completely different strategies, as the Wolverines shot the ball excessively while the Knights worked to push the ball inside and draw fouls, as Harvard Westlake committed four fouls in the first quarter alone.

The second quarter saw a ten point lead evaporate, as the game became a closely contested matchup that never saw any team maintain a lead of over three possessions the rest of the way. Down six to start the quarter, five quick points from Miller led to just a one point score, as an emphatic dunk led by an immediate steal off an inbound pass and an open range three pointer brought the crowd to its feet. Harvard Westlake was able to maintain a stable lead heading into halftime, as C Jacob Huggins came alive in the scoring department, highlighted by an inbound steal followed by an emphatic dunk and a buzzer beater layup to enter halftime with a 31-27 Harvard Westlake lead.

Entering the third quarter, both teams had only recorded one three point shot made, as the game had been a heavy battle within the inside, focusing on mid-range shots as the focal jumpers. One thing that highlighted the third quarter was the amount of glass-cleaning that was apparent, as Huggins collected four putback scores and was electric after a scoreless first quarter. It was Huggins leading the way for the Wolverines, carrying the same momentum he had in the previous quarter to ultimately produce a double-double in the contest. Despite the efforts, Notre Dame stormed back to make things interesting as the Knights turned the game on its head, leading with a 46-44 score at the end of the third quarter.

The contest became more fast-paced entering the fourth quarter, as even though scoring remained sparing, both teams created forced turnovers leading to substantially shorter possession times. The clock wouldn’t see any stoppage until two minutes into the quarter, as even after that time, the score remained within a one-possession reach. After being down by four, Duke-bound Caleb Foster made sure his team was still in the thick of the game, recording his 20th point before ultimately fouling out. Foster in his efforts finished with a stat line of 20/8/2, BLK, 6/14 FGA, 2/7 3PA, 6/7 FTA. Entering the final seconds of the game, foul troubles that had plagued the Knights all game caught up to them, as two clutch free throws from Wolverines G Nikolas Khamenia forced the game into overtime, with the score tied at 63.

The first minute of overtime didn’t see much offensive production until nearly the final minute of the four-minute period, with iso-ball becoming the predominant method for scoring on both sides. With both teams giving their fullest efforts, the game reached another four-minute of overtime with the score deadlocked at 71 apiece. Entering the second period of overtime, Huggins entered having made eight consecutive field goals after starting 0/4 from the field. Harvard Westlake was able to gain a decent four point advantage, after Notre Dame bound Brady Dunlap, who had been scoreless through two quarters, came alive in double overtime, knocking down two clutch free throws late in the period to give Harvard Westlake a 79-75 lead. Despite the efforts from Notre Dame, Harvard Westlake came out victorious, notching a hard-fought win by a final score of 85-78. Trent Perry led the way in the scoring department for the Wolverines, as he finished with 27 points and 16/17 free throws despite finishing 33% from the field overall.

As for the now 21-1 Harvard Westlake Wolverines, they will be hosting an epic Friday night showdown between Bronny James and the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers Friday, with game time scheduled for 7 pm. As for the now 14-8 Notre Dame Knights, they will travel to West Hills to take on the Chaminade Eagles Friday, with game time scheduled for 7 pm. 

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